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Ex-Bataan Veterans Security Agency, Inc. vs. Sec. of Labor Bienvenido E. Laguesma, et. al.

GR no. 152396
November 20, 2007

Ex-Bataan Veterans Security Agency, Inc. (EBVSAI) is in the business of providing
security services while respondents are EBVSAI employees assigned to the Napocor, Ambuklao,
Benguet. Private respondents instituted a complaint for underpayment of wages against
EBVSAI before the Regional Office of DOLE.
The Regional Office conducted a complaint inspection at the Ambuklao Plant where
they observed violations of labor standards law. On the same date, the Regional Office issued a
notice of hearing. The Regional Director then issued a compliance order.
EBVSAI filed a motion for reconsideration and alleged that the Regional Director does
not have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case because the money claim of each
respondent exceeded P 5,000.
The Regional Director denied EBVSAI’s motion.
EBVSAI appealed to the Secretary of Labor. The Sec. of Labor affirmed the decision of
the Regional Director with modification.
EBVSAI filed a petition for certiorari before the CA. The CA dismissed the petition and
affirmed the decision of the Sec. of Labor.

1. W/N the Sec. of Labor or his duly authorized representatives acquired jurisdiction over
2. W/N the Sec. of Labor or his duly authorized representatives have jurisdiction over the
money claims of respondents which exceed P 5,000.

1. Yes. The Regional Director validly acquired jurisdiction over EBVSAI. EBVSAI does not
deny having received the notices of hearing. In fact, the detachment commander and
bookkeeper of EBVSAI appeared before the Regional Director. They claimed that the
notice of hearing was received late and manifested that the notice should be sent to
Manila office. They were also informed of EBVSAI’s violations and were asked to present
the employment records of the respondents for verification. They were also asked to
submit proof of compliance or their position paper. EBVSAI can no longer question the
jurisdiction of the Regional Director after receiving the notices of hearing and after
appearing before the Regional Director.

2. Yes. Article 128 of the Labor Code (as amended by RA 7730) explicitly excludes from its
coverage Arts. 129 and 217 of the Labor Code thereby retaining and further
strengthening the power of the Sec. of Labor or his duly authorized representatives to
issue compliance orders to give effect to the labor standards provisions of said code and
other labor legislation based on the findings of labor employment and enforcement or
industrial safety engineer made in the course of inspection. This was further affirmed in
Cirineo Bowling Plaza, Inc. vs. Sensing, where the court sustained the jurisdiction of
DOLE Regional Director and held that the visitorial and enforcement powers of the
DOLE Regional Director to order and enforce compliance with labor standard laws can
be exercised even where the individual claim exceeds P 5,000.

However, if the labor standards case is covered by exception clause in Art. 128 (b) of the
Labor Code, the Reg. Dir. will have to endorse the case to the appropriate Arbitration
Branch of NLRC. The ff. elements must be present: a.) employer contests the findings of
the labor regulations officer and raises issues thereon; b.) in order to resolve such
issues, there is need to examine evidentiary matters; c.) such matters are not verifiable
in the normal course of the inspection. The rules also provide that the employer shall
raise such objections during the hearing of the case or at any time after receipt of the
notice of inspection results.

In the case at bar, since the jurisdiction was exercised in accordance with Art. 128 (b) of
the Labor Code and the case does not fall with the exception clause, the Reg. Dir.
Validly assumed jurisdiction over money claims of respondents even if the claims
exceeded P 5,000.